Here are the top five major causes of traffic congestion in American cities today


Throughout the world, traffic congestion is worsening, and all indicators suggest that this trend will only increase. A clear threat to urban quality of life. Several factors, including an increase in vehicle traffic, decreased speed limits, traffic patterns, and peak travel times, contribute to this problem. We feel the effects of traffic bottlenecks more acutely in our daily lives. When cars are unable to move freely, they produce a variety of waste products that harm the environment.

Leading provider of transportation analytics and connected car services INRIX estimates that in 2021, Americans will have wasted 3.4 billion hours stuck in traffic. Chicago drivers lost the most time that year (104 hours), followed by New Yorkers (102 hours) and Philadelphia motorists (90 hours). When it comes to total time, Boston finished in fourth place (with 78 hours) while Miami took fifth (with 74 hours) ( 66 hours). See how much more it costs each driver in the following graph during times of heavy congestion.

This comes straight from the folks over at INRIX ( Traffic Scorecard, 2021)

Traffic Congestion Caused By These Top Five Factors

There are too many people and not enough highways.

Too many people and not enough roads contribute to heavy congestion in the United States. Population growth and the widespread use of private automobiles are contributing to gridlocked commutes during rush hour. It stands to reason that travel times would lengthen when there was a greater number of vehicles on the road. In the long run, it causes traffic congestion since cars have to go more slowly.

Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

Drivers’ attention is diverted away from the road any time they use a mobile device for communication, whether making a call or sending a text. Because of this, the chances of an accident or traffic bottleneck increasing are increased. Most motorists are aware of the consequences of distracted driving but choose to ignore them. Multiple rules encourage drivers to reduce their reliance on hand gestures while behind the wheel. The difficulty in monitoring drivers increases the risk that they will engage in illegal behavior. Eight people are killed in car accidents per day in the United States, and it is widely believed that this is the result of a driver’s inattentiveness (NHTSA, 2020).

Acts of Aggressive Driving

Many road users are rude to motorists. There are two main reasons why people drive so quickly: 1) they’re late for work or another important commitment, and 2) they’re trying to show off or intimidate other drivers. Aggressive driving is dangerous for everyone involved, including the driver. There are more and more violent motorists on U.S. roads, largely due to the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the NHTSA, over 28 persons lose their lives in car accidents each day due to drunk drivers in the United States.

How the climate is right now

Accidents and traffic backups have a long history of being caused by cold weather in the United States. Because of the changes in traffic patterns and driver behavior brought on by snowstorms, most traffic signal control systems are not up to the task of keeping the roads clear. Since people tend to be more cautious when the weather is terrible, traffic is often slowed down. It’s understandable to be irritated by cars traveling at reduced speeds in wet or icy conditions.

Mechanical Issues with Automobiles

Most people don’t consider mechanical or technological breakdowns to be causes of traffic mishaps. In addition to causing accidents, faulty auto parts can increase the risk of injury or death in even minor collisions.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the Department of Transportation has the authority to set safety standards for vehicles and require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or don’t meet Federal safety standards thanks to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (originally passed in 1966 and now codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301). (NHTSA)

It’s important to keep in mind that the causes of traffic congestion can vary greatly between regions and cities. Finding a middle ground between mobility, growth, and competitiveness while also maintaining and improving the quality of life in cities requires long-term strategic planning. Adding Fleet tracking software to commercial fleet services would alleviate most traffic problems. CloudApper Fleet helps alleviate traffic congestion with its user-friendly fleet tracking software that operates in the cloud. To learn more, sign up for a free trial today.


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